Independence Day Resurgence Review

The Plot

Two decades after the first Independence Day invasion, a rebuilt Earth is faced with a new even more determined alien threat. But will mankind’s new space defenses be enough to save humanity this time?

The Good

Director Roland Emmerich returns to the beloved world of Independence Day, bringing back Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman and Vivica A. Fox to lead a new generation (Maika Monroe, Jessie T. Usher and Liam Hemsworth) into another intergalactic battle.

It’s a joy to see the old cast return, even if it is without Will Smith who’s character has been unceremoniously killed off-screen. With five screenwriters attached, the twenty year gap is managed well, with the world now having straightened itself up after the last attack, using their newfound alien technology to further their own space age warfare in preparation for more attacks.

But soon enough, the aliens return. Bigger and badder and with all new rebuilt landmarks to destroy. Thankfully, the world is somewhat more prepared this time, with Liam Hemsworth’s Jake Morrison part of the recently built moon base. However, it’s not enough to prepare them for what’s to come.

The Bad

This long-awaited sequel never manages to top the effect it’s predecessor had on audiences. While visual effects have indeed been updated drastically since 1996, the destruction feels less incredible as a result. More is shown this time, leaving it feeling marginally less impactful.

What’s also disappointing, is the scripts tendency to feel messier in its characterization. At a running time of two hours exactly, (25 minutes shorter than its predecessor) Independence Day: Resurgence somehow manages to cram in more plot threads while not focusing enough on any group to give a sense of who should be the main characters of the piece. It comes as more of a let-down when the younger generation is set up pretty well with Maika Monroe and Jessie T. Usher serving as the family connections to the first installment, only to feel underused.

Perhaps Emerich should have looked to The Force Awakens as inspiration for how to properly pass a story down to the next generation without relying too heavily on the likes of Goldblum and Pullman. It’s even more dismaying to see an awful attempt at retreading the iconic Presidential speech for which the first film is so fondly remembered. Resurgence kicks off with a throwback to this classic moment and that’s really where it should have left it. Instead we get a half-hearted attempt at Bill Pullman again rousing the rally for earths last stand . Though purposefully  downplayed it it’s still a transparent attempt to lazily recapture some of the original film’s former glory.

The Ugly Truth

Independence Day: Resurgence is a bigger, darker sequel that hosts the return of the actors that made the first such a success (minus Will Smith) and brings in a new generation of alien attackers to lead the franchise. Unfortunately it doesn’t hold a candle to its far superior predecessor and ultimately becomes a disappointing mess instead of what could have been a fun summer blockbuster.

Review by Johnny Ellis

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